BizTEC, Israel’s premier competition for promising startup ideas, is not for the faint of heart. Participants entering BizTEC have already endured rigorous workshops to hone their idea. They might even have won some tech hackathons. But BizTEC is the ultimate prize.

“BizTEC is one of the best technology programs in Israel.” – Sleem Hasan, a BizTEC investor

Mr. Hasan is a businessman from the United Arab Emirates and attended this year’s final BizTEC event, Demo Day, following the September peace treaty between Israel and the UAE.

Established in 2004 as an internal Technion competition, BizTEC went nationwide and today is Israel’s most sought-after entrepreneurship challenge. Its purpose is to support and promote entrepreneurs who want to develop multidisciplinary deep technologies that can impact diverse applications.

Each year from December through February, Israeli students and university graduates begin the first phase of the competition. During that period, the applicants meet, pair up, attend an “Ideas Night” session, and other events. Of the 100+ participants, 30 teams are chosen to continue. Those semifinalists receive mentorship from leading industry experts in workshops focused on marketing, IP, strategy, and pitching — until the next cut.

In June, just 12 teams pass to the core Summer Program, culminating in BizTEC’s Demo Day. They pitch their ventures to a panel of judges, and the first-place team wins a grand prize of $10,000, which is usually put towards developing the startup. The top three teams also receive additional mentorship to further their projects and are introduced to tech investors. BizTEC graduates have raised more than $750 million in investments through the years, and have launched scores of startups including:

  • BreezoMeter: a real-time air pollution, weather, and pollen monitoring app
  • AmplioSpeech: a digital speech therapy service for children and adults
  • CloudPool: an automated artificial intelligence management platform for organizations using several cloud providers

The winner of BizTEC 2020 was LightCode, a technology that accelerates drug discovery. Commenting at the final event, Mr. Hasan said, “I do not need an introduction regarding the Technion. Twelve years ago, I met an Israeli entrepreneur who founded one of the companies I run today. He is a graduate of the Technion, his father taught physics at the Technion, and his partner is a graduate of the Technion.”

Operated out of t-hub, the Technion’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, BizTEC is headed by Technion alumnus Ohad Yaniv. Mr. Yaniv is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Yaniv Mobile Solutions, a boutique app and design studio that has worked with top brands including Albar Car Rental, Dollar Thrifty, MOE’s Teachers accelerator, and even Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s Atzmaut Party.